Exclusive and inclusive protest in Europe: Investigating values, support for democracy, and life conditions

TitleExclusive and inclusive protest in Europe: Investigating values, support for democracy, and life conditions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMorselli, D, Passini, S
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Date Published01/2018
Keywordsdemocracy, Europe, life-course, protest, values

Dissatisfaction with the economic situation and perceived governmental inefficacy in regard to the financial crisis has spawned a widespread feeling of political distrust across Europe. This distrust has been translated into protests against institutional authority that aims at either expanding democratic procedures or supporting xenophobic and populist measures. This research uses European Social Survey data to compare exclusive and inclusive protesters with regard to a number of personal and social values, attitudes toward democratic principles, and different life conditions and socio-economic resources. It also considers contextual factors to investigate how different protesters' profiles are interwoven with socio-economic conditions. The results of a multilevel latent profile analysis show that exclusive and inclusive protesters, despite sharing similar levels of political distrust, differ with regard to key values and political attitudes, and these differences are related to individual and collective living conditions. We argue that unfavourable living conditions play a non-negligible role in increasing the probability of easy (i.e., populist) scapegoat political attitudes. Further support for this hypothesis is provided by the cross-country analysis, which shows that higher levels of exclusive protest are present in countries that were characterized by worse living conditions before the economic crisis.